Monday, February 10, 2020

I Have Plans

They say that battle plans always look good until the battle starts. Then everything changes in an instant regardless of what was expected. I think the same can be true in business.

Strategic Plans, Business Plans, Marketing Plans
I like plans. I like investing the time to think through what should happen, what could happen, and how I might manage the unexpected things that probably will pop up. It's almost a competition for me. 

How can I beat the system and help my organization win?

I love to win.

However, what happens when all of that thinking and planning and communicating launches and...guess what...things don't go as planned? For real.

That is the real test, right? Table top exercises are helpful, but woefully inadequate compared to the real thing. When leaders find the courage to authorize new initiatives and put them into practice, that is when the heart rate goes up and the rush of the world of business kicks in.

At least it does for me.

I love the rush.

Fear of Failure = Leadership Failure
If plans can be so effective, even if we need to be nimble enough to adjust them on the fly, why don't more leaders invest the time to build them? Why do organizations play the "we're so busy we don't have time to build a strategy" card?

I don't get it.


Plans work. Excuses don't.



How About You
What is standing in your way to think through what needs to be done in your organization? Candidly, developing effective plans takes much longer than you think. But the results will also be better, right?

That's how planning works. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Kindness, Grace...and Work?

"It's not personal, it's business."

I've said this a thousand times...and I'm quite sure I'll say it a thousand times more before I call it a career and delete my email accounts forever.

Faith and Leadership in the Workplace
I've been writing about faith for many years here. Faith is the horsepower behind the two words that I'm focusing on in 2020: kindness and grace.

Sometimes the three words in today's title seem incompatible. 

How exactly does one demonstrate grace while making difficult decisions and driving hard on what needs to be done in the workplace? 

How do we create that sense of urgency, that "good" pressure to keep things moving and to achieve results, all while being kind to those around us?

Overthinking It
I would offer that it may not be nearly as difficult as we might think. The old school leadership style of being mean or forceful as a way to earn respect is now an embarrassing moment for everyone...at the very least...and is candidly career-limiting in the world of work today.

The opportunity to integrate both kindness and grace comes through the delivery of our messages. Yes, accountability is critical to execution. But so is buy-in, respect for the team, and a willingness to hear other voices to ensure the best path is taken.

Consider when a leader has shown you kindness and grace in your career. I bet you already pictured them in your mind before you got to this sentence, right?

Be that leader.

How About You
What are your leadership priorities this year? I have a long list of business outcomes that must be achieved; however, I plan on achieving them in a way that perhaps I hadn't fully incorporated into my leadership style in the past.

Kindness.
Grace.
Work.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

What's Your Leadership Definition?

Your CEO steps onto the elevator with you, turns to greet you, and instead of saying hello, says..."tell me your leadership definition."

What's your answer? 

I'll wait...but I'm not sure you'll have time to wait in that elevator.

Leadership Is Everything
Imagine the impact in that moment when you deliver a clean, concise response. The look on your CEO's face...the insight she or he gets into who you are beyond your solid performance day in and day out.

Imagine how good that would feel.

Or...

You stumble. You don't have anything much of value to say, but you do a heck of a job dropping all of the most unoriginal jargon you can think of as you panic.

Imagine how bad that would feel.

How About You
Does it sound hokey to have a leadership definition? I bet it doesn't anymore. Think about it. Write it down. Share it.

Most importantly...live it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Your Last 10%

A number of years ago I was with a great friend at his workplace where he was speaking with a member of his team about a difficult topic. He sensed she was trying to be diplomatic and was not being completely forthright as she answered his questions.

Then he said, "what is your last 10%?"

I'm sure I had a puzzled look on my face as I watched this exchange, as I had absolutely no idea what his question meant.

His team member paused...flashed a bit of a nervous smile...and gave a completely honest answer to his previous series of questions.

Once this impromptu meeting ended, I asked my friend about the last 10%, and why it shifted her answers to the core of the issue.

He explained that he has a rule with his team. They are required - like most teams - to be honest and thoughtful about their communication. But in case something gets too complicated, politically sensitive or just a bit awkward, they can ask for the other person to give their "last 10% of what they're thinking."

I love that.

A culture whereby even the most challenging of topics have a clear path to be discussed without fear of retribution because you are given the freedom to share that final bit of information on your mind.

How About You
What culture have you created in your workplace? The real one. Does it have clear paths for your team members to be completely honest? 

Maybe the last 10% help?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Ready To Go

I'm ready to go.

It's Not About the New Year
Identifying goals, resolutions, or whatever you prefer to call the "beginning of the year lists" can be fun, inspiring, and confusing all at once.

Are we supposed to have lists? Yes we are!

Is there something special about the year flipping that should move us forward differently than the rest of the year? Not at all, but it is a wonderful reminder that we need to keep pushing...keep challenging ourselves...keep getting better.

It's Not About Being Completely Ready
One of the great misconceptions of personal and professional life is that we shouldn't jump into anything unless we are fully prepared.

That is crazy talk.

Getting started is important.

Making progress is important.

Taking risks, evaluating, and adjusting are all important.

Waiting around for the perfect moment is simply fear manifested for all to see.

How About You
What's on your list this year? What is holding you back from jumping in? If you need to talk it through, reach out. You can do it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Expressions of Power

Power is an interesting concept. We chase it...we are fearful of it...we are quick to identify abuses of it...

...and then we chase it some more.

What's the Real Story
There is an allure to success, and the trappings that come along with it. Titles, money, respect, authority. Hmmm...authority. That component of power that offers the ability to guide others in the way you want them to go. 

That path can be something wonderful...creating a culture that brings the great minds of your team together to push through to new levels of success. A culture whereby everyone feels connected to the vision. 

Damn, that can be exciting.



Power for Power's Sake
There is, of course, a dark side to power. In times of war power is projected in the most overwhelming ways possible to demoralize the enemy. Perhaps the same can be said for those leaders who are solely focused on power as a personal issue.

They are the ones that feel threatened in every meeting. They are quick to challenge others so as to redirect the focus away from their shortcomings. They see an inclusive leadership approach as somehow diminishing their own status.

We've all seen them. Maybe you've been one at some point in your career?
We've all seen their behavior as well: the body language, the words they choose, the tone of their electronic messages.

How About You
Who do you know in your company that views power in such a disruptive way? How can you help them? As we look to the start of a new year, it might be time for you to pull them aside, provide the thoughtful coaching they need, and help them start 2020 in a very different way.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Blogging, Social Media and Your Questions

I get a fair number of questions about blogging, social media, personal brands and how to balance those with my corporate responsibilities. So today I thought I would answer some of those questions. 

You may not agree with me, which is great! Let's kick around our shared ideas on how to balance this ever evolving challenge as a group.

Q - I wouldn't know what to say on social media, no one is interested in what I have to say?

A - Completely untrue! Of course you have a lot to say...you do it all day long in your job. The trick is framing up the issues that impact your work, and commenting on them, writing about them, or responding to them in a professional way. Go slowly at first, then as you gain confidence you will be more comfortable adding to the global dialogue.

Q - My company is very strict about social media, and quite honestly does not appear to understand how it works. How can I get started?

A - This is a common situation, and one I've heard MANY times! First of all, remember that the safest content you can share is your own company's content. 

They have already posted it, so sharing it is not risky, it's showing that you are a champion for your employer! 

Second, there aren't any rules that say you have to take risks on social media. 

Look to your professional association websites, credible business outlets, and basic industry news outlets as a way to get your feet wet. 

Q - I've always been curious about blogging, but how would I ever come up with all of that content?

A - I felt the same way when I was thinking about getting started...that was 9 years and 850+ blog posts ago! Whoa! Where does the time go? 

When I was working through the same challenges, I made the decision to focus on leadership issues. Others take a more expanded view, and that's okay too. Think about what matters to you. Start writing down the issues that touch you personally in your work (or personal) life. That is where you start!

How About You
Are you ready to differentiate yourself from the many hundreds or thousands of people in roles just like yours? If so, starting a blog, podcast, or other strategy might be right for you. Jumping into the social media game is not nearly as scary as it seems...just look around, it has really caught on!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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